Minors Gain Rights for Death with Dignity in Belgium
Minors Gain Rights for Death with Dignity in Belgium
  • 김선화 기자
  • 승인 2016.12.09 09:00
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Belgium - On September 17th, a 17-year-old teenager met his death by euthanasia becoming the first minor to do so under law. Belgium is the only country which allows euthanasia of all ages in the world. A literal translation of Euthanasia means “good death” in Greek. A good death can be described as an artificial intervention that painlessly ends the life in of a living thing that is suffering from an incurable disease. Such a life has reached a point where life conservation efforts are considered cruel or meaningless by the sufferer.

Euthanasia is divided in two categories: active euthanasia and passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia results in death by directly injecting poison or a lethal dose of sleeping pills. Passive euthanasia results in death indirectly. An example of passive euthanasia is disconnecting a respirator which is providing life support. Korea does not allow euthanasia yet. The only exception is disconnecting a respirator when a person is declared brain dead. In 2002, Netherlands became the first country which legalized euthanasia. Netherlands allows euthanasia for minors older than twelve years old. Seven countries worldwide allow euthanasia some states in the United States. In Canada, euthanasia was legalized this year. It can be implemented to ill adult patients on the verge of death who express their desire to die. Among other countries that euthanasia is allowed is Sweden. Dying citizens of countries that do not allow euthanasia have been reported of traveling to countries that do allow it. Last year, as many as two thousand people ended their life from euthanasia. And till now, a total of 8752 people have met their death by euthanasia. In 2002, Belgian euthanasia law allowed only people aged 18 or over who suffered from constant and unbearable pain. The law was revised in 2014 and allowed euthanasia to people aged 18 and under. In the process there were many controversial happenings after legalizing euthanasia. In 2015, Belgium medical teams came forward to help a twenty-four year old woman who did not have any physical health problems but she had suicidal urges. She eventually died from euthanasia as she wanted. When this happened, euthanasia became an international hot issue. Beam Dice Telmanseu the person in charge of Belgian euthanasia committee said “Few dying children consider euthanasia even though they have a right to die with dignity”.


Meanwhile, Christians who oppose euthanasia have voiced disapproval. In Korea, only patients of incurable illnesses have the right to stop treatment such as halting medications or disconnecting respirators. Birth is not a choice. Death is not a choice, too. Should people have the choice of how they die? What’s your opinion?

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